Why Should I Go Mobile?

Many university sites are not optimized for viewing on mobile devices.
If your users are going mobile, shouldn’t you?


The World is Going Mobile

Mobile devices are everywhere. In the United States, over three-quarters of Americans age 43 and under use a smartphone, and the number continues to rise.1

By 2015, 81% of US cell phone users will have smartphones.2

People are using mobile devices to access the Internet in record numbers. Mobile devices are predicted to account for over half of all global Internet traffic by 2018.3

In the U.S., 85% of cell phone owners age 18-29 use their device to go online, and 25% of all US mobile web users ONLY access the web from their mobile phones.4,5

In January 2014, mobile devices accounted for 55% of Internet traffic, marking the first time mobile Internet access outstripped desktop access in the U.S.6


Being Mobile Friendly Enhances Student Recruiting7

A majority of high school seniors and their parents use their mobile devices for
web browsing, and more specifically, for looking up college websites. According
to a report by Noel-Levitz:

  • 90% high school seniors and 81% of parents of high school seniors have access to a mobile device.
  • 40% of students and 28% of parents use their mobile device for nearly all of their web browsing.


have looked at a college website on a mobile device.

51% of seniors say they want
college web pages to adapt to
their mobile screens.

Official recommendation for universities

“Adapt your web pages and emails to mobile displays. Adaptive
display technology is the best way to make sure that your
carefully crafted online content looks presentable and readable
on any screen. Be sure to optimize and test forms so mobile
users can make contact with you easily.”


Mobile engagement can improve
outreach to underrepresented communities4

Cell phones help bridge the digital divide by providing Internet access to less privileged teens.

  • 74% of African-American cell phone owners are cell Internet users.
  • 68% of Hispanic cell owners are cell Internet users.

According to Pew Internet, Internet users who primarily use cell phones to connect are demographically non-whites, young adults and less affluent. Developing a mobile responsive website can improve outreach to these communities that are underrepresented at the university.

34% of cell Internet users go online MOSTLY using their phones rather than a desktop or laptop computer. Up 9% from 2012.

Demographics of cell-mostly Internet users


Predominantly Non-Whites


are cell-mostly Internet users.

Young Adults

Half of cell Internet users ages
18-29 mostly use their cell
phone to go online.

The less-affluent

45% of cell Internet users living in households with an annual income of less than $30,000 mostly use their phone to go online, compared with 27% of those living in households with an annual income of $75,000 or more.

1Frank N. Magid 2012 Mobile Study. August 1, 2012. Source: Frank N. Magid Associates, 2012

2 Goldman Sachs, 2011

3Cisco Visual Networking Index: Forecast and Methodology, 2013-2018. http://www.cisco.com/c/en/us/solutions/collateral/service provider/ip-ngn-ip-next-generation-network/white_paper_c11-481360.html, accessed September 2014.

4 Duggan, Maeve and Smith, Aaron. Cell Internet Use 2013. Pew Internet & American Life Project, September 16, 2013, http://www.pewinternet.org/2013/09/16/cell-internet-use-2013/, accessed September 2014.

5On Device Research, 2010 as reported by MobiThinking.

6CNN Money: Mobile apps overtake PC Internet usage in U.S., February 28, 2014. http://money.cnn.com/2014/02/28/technology/mobile/mobile-apps-internet, accessed September 2014.

7Noel-Levitz, OminUpdate, CollegeWeekLive and NRCCUA 2014 E-Expectations Report. https://www.noellevitz.com/papers-research-higher-education/2014/2014-e-expectations-report, accessed September 2014.

What is Mobile?

“Mobile” is not one single device, user or technology. It is a combination of users, devices, technologies and how they interact.



Think outside the small screen

Mobile devices include laptops, netbooks, tablets and e-readers, as well cell phones.

So many options, so little time

Mobile’s technology environment (operating systems, web browsers, hardware) is more fragmented and complex than the desktop’s, posing challenges for web developers.

Old devices never die

They just slowly fade away, meaning a significant percentage of website visitors may use an older device to view your site.



On-the-go mobile user

The device is mobile and so is the user. Sites are viewed by busy people checking out info in short bursts.

Casual mobile user

Web browsing on mobile devices is increasingly a leisure activity, not always for quick checks of email or map locations. Users increasingly expect the mobile view to be as good as the desktop version with access to all content.

Casual mobile users are increasing

Mobile is becoming the most common way to access the Internet.



Responsive Websites

Websites that scale and reformat content appropriately to the device screen


Mobile Websites

Separate, standalone version of a website that is targeted to mobile browsers and “on-the-go” users


Mobile Applications

Applications that use feature of the device to perform specific tasks

Think mobile first – Design websites with mobile users as the primary audience.

See the
Texas A&M Mobile Strategypage for recommendations on how to go mobile.